1. I was remembering the celebration laid on for Uncle Terry, who died just before Christmas a couple of years ago. In accordance with his wishes, we celebrated his life on his birthday, 8th November, by climbing up St Catherine's Hill, just out side Winchester, where he grew up. I don't know how many there were - his brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, brothers- and sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, offsprings of children and nephews and nieces - quite a party. As dusk fell, we set up two humungous rockets, aimed towards St Cross Church way down below. The rockets had been filled with his ashes. One touch of a match to the blue touch-paper, and the sky lit up with brilliant streaks and stars, and the air was filled with sizzles and splutters and bang. We stood there in the gathering dark, chorusing "ooooh" and "aaaah", sipping champagne and toasting his memory.
It took a while for us to all meet up at the Pizza Express in the city, as the "young things" went galloping round the mizmaze (we could see their torches, and hear their shouts, but it was now completely dark). The rest of us gingerly picked our way along unfamiliar paths, getting lost, discovering unexpected stiles, ditches and bramble patches.
What a day. What a way to go!
2. Today I was attempting to teach a class of 10 and 11 year old children the intricacies of "Sonata Form". We are at the very, very early stages of our journey, and I was trying to encourage a discussion about form, and how we structure poems, stories and music. All my carefully planned, leading questions were completely wasted. We were being terrorised by a large and very dopey wasp, zooming and dive bombing the children as we sat in a circle on the floor. Nothing could be achieved until the wasp finally settled on the curtains some way from our circle, and the muffled screams and squeaks (from the girls) and cries of "squish it", "kill it" "I'll get it" (from the boys) ceased. Gender stereotyping seems to be firmly in place by age 10, however you try and avoid it.
3. My mother continues to improve slowly. At night, when she can't sleep, she constructs elaborate and detailed plans for the improvement of local facilities for nursing care and nurses homes which she can recount to us in visiting hours.
4. I need to sleep. Goodnight!